10/05/19, University of Reading.
Room installation, light, metal, mirror, wood and wax.
A cube of flesh. Protecting yet entrapping a mesh body, whose shadow permeates the canvas of the walls. Double vision, as layered hands intersect the spine of the frame. The magnification of interconnecting joints contained within the fuzzy boundaries of a blood red disc. A second figure in the room stands tall, metal joints and disconnected limbs. Looking down, whilst reflecting up, the mirrors duplicate and distort the image. A single cell floats in isolation. Born into darkness, light is the source; its flow of connections completes the circuit.
I’m interested in the transformative properties of light and space. With each object added, the space performs differently, illuminating a different truth. Gestalt psychology explores how the mind perceives a relationship between separate visual elements and objects to create a new environment as a ‘unified whole’. This idea of connect / disconnect inspires my work, initially informed by research into phantom limb syndrome. I am currently interested in portraying this relation between cognition and the physical in a more embodied way. The body becomes enveloped in the space, with the element of light, integral to the perception of reality. Previously, I was exploring the concept through painting and 2D image-making, such as the layering of inverted photograms, printed onto transparent acetate. This medium was however restrictive in size and lacked the tactile presence of sculptural elements. By exploring this dynamic I can create an immersive environment where projections and shadows inhabit the space and inform a power dynamic, a mixed reality. I emphasise the materiality of non-conventional materials such as wax. Its smooth and fragile moulded shape contrasts the hard, reflective surfaces and structural elements of ‘natural’ wood.
I was inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ large-scale sculpture and installation works. Her material use is sensory, juxtaposing industrial metal with hand-stitched fabric forms. Illustrating often opposing concepts, for example inclusion / exclusion and conscious / subconscious. Her works elude a confrontational sense of presence, that I am also interested in provoking. In a similar way, Lindsay Seers utilises her own body as a photographic medium to translate a moment of sensation. I’m intrigued by this multi-dimension, also illustrated by Tai Shani’s multidisciplinary approach, which has influenced the curatorial aspect of my work. Within The Uncanny, Mike Kelley exhibited disparate objects together, exploring the psychological aspect of the uncanny and the notion of the “double”. This concept of parallels is also referenced in the contemporary film Us, written and directed by Jordan Peele (2019). Exploring the underlying implications of cloning, it questions identity by looking at the relationship between the body and the shadow.
What happens when the shadow takes the light? The shadow’s illusionary presence informs a discussion on how light can manipulate individual perception of reality.